2019 Teams

Marshall, Rigel and Aiden Jessen – McClellanville, SC
It wouldn’t be a Georgetown Wooden Boat Challenge without the Jessen family.  Marshall, an 18 -year veteran of the Challenge and a powerful rower, took first place in 2002, 2005 and 2006 with his teammate, George Heyle. Since then, Marshall has been participating in the Challenge with his son, Rigel, and in the past few years he has had some extra help from Rigel’s younger brother, Aiden. Marshall’s wife, Cami, is always in the cheering section with her camera. 


Keane and Craig McLaughlin- Charleston, SC
The McLaughlin brothers from Charleston are returning to Georgetown ready to enjoy a delicious BBQ dinner and open bar. However, in order to enjoy the delicious meal, Keane and Craig must first compete in their 6th Wooden Boatbuilding Challenge. They have consistently placed 2nd in EVERY competition since their first entry in 2013. Along the way winning a few awards such as: The Broken Oar Award (2014) and the Blow Out Award (2018).

The duo is older, grayer, the tools are a little rusty, and the batteries are run down, but their desire to eat and compete remains strong. Look for a closely contested 2nd place finish and a fun show during the rowing race. Defibrillator paddles and oars at the ready.


Andrew Small and Shaun Laursen – Charleston, SC
Andrew and Shaun were competitors in the 2018 build. Andrew says “We can do better than that one this year.” He works hard for the environment every day and plays harder too. Sean is a roofer and says he is “Looking forward to knocking out a great boat this year.”


James Burke II and James Burke – North Charleston, SC
The Burkes are a father-son duo. James II was born and raised in Coastal SC. and is a recent graduate from the College of Charleston. James the father is a lifelong carpenter originally from Massachusetts.  


Ryan Parsons and Robert Lindsey – Columbia, SC
Ryan Parsons is a licensed home builder, carpenter, and home improvement radio host. His father Clifford “Cliff” Parsons is from Georgetown, and was Ryan’s first instructor in the world of tools and woodworking. Ryan currently owns and operates “Practically Perfect Home Improvement” in Columbia and specializes in remodeling older homes. 

Robert Lindsey was born and raised in Columbia, SC and has been a licensed builder/remodelor for over 10 years. Robert owns and operates “Wise Guys Home Improvement” in Columbia and specializes in kitchen and bath remodeling. Robert is a graduate of Brevard University class of 2005. After serving the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina, he returned to Columbia to start a career in construction and remodeling.


David Sippe and Jackson Sippe – Charlotte, NC and Boone, NC   

A fourth year competitor, David has construction in his blood. Owner of an industrial construction company, David enjoys boating, fishing and old house restoration. He was first introduced to Georgetown when working on a project at Winyah power plant over 15 years ago. He loves the town so much that he and his family decided to purchase a house on Front Street that they are slowly renovating.  Jackson, also a fourth year competitor, will  again join his father in the competition. When not boat building, Jackson enjoys sailing, banjo playing and all things computers.


Cody Keithan and Bruno Borzoni, Belfast, ME 

Cody Keithan, owner of K Construction of Belfast Maine, has had his heart and soul in the home building for 20 years. Cody and his building team custom build homes on the mid coast of Maine. Cody was introduced to the National Boat Building Competition 4 years ago as a volunteer at the Belfast Harbor Festival in 2015. He entered the competition to support the community and to fund raise as a a Rotarian in 2016, and after that he was hooked and has participated in the competition ever since. In August of 2018, he and his partner Bruno set a new world record building time of 1HR 24M 29S. Excited to represent our beautiful city, Cody is looking forward to traveling and competing in the 2019 the boat building challenges with his partner Bruno.

Bruno has always been passionate about the ocean, coming from a family of classic wooden boat builders. He’s been working along side Cody for the past 2 years, honing his skills in residential carpentry. He’s always looking for friendly competition, especially when it comes to boating. He is confident in his teams capabilities hold their title in Mid Coast Maine where shipbuilding once flourished.


Shanley Kellicut and Sam Kellicut – Deer Lodge, MT

Shanley Kellicut, a 1992 graduate ofCoastal Carolina University, is a Carpenter from Deer Lodge, Mt. Sam attended Appalachian State University and is also a carpenter from Deer Lodge, Mt


Bryce Becker and Shelby Freeman – Newport, NC and Swansboro, NC

Bryce has been to each location multiple times, but his favorite one is in Belfast, Maine because the view is so majestic and peaceful. He also likes the steel drum band that plays during the build because he makes it his goal to fill the drums up with saw dust before they leave. Thanks to Cody Keithan, he sometimes goes on Milwaukee tool buying sprees and uses boat building as an excuse for why he bought it, so look for any fancy power tools he might have hidden up his sleeve.

Shelby was introduced into the world of boat building by helping Tom Russell build scout boats years ago, she has been hooked on it ever since. Her first experience with tools may have not been for the intended purpose, unless you count trying to curl your hair with a power drill and ending up with bangs, but has improved tremendously to using it to its full potential. She is also known for breaking countless oarlocks while rowing, so make sure to get a front row seat!


Joshua Kofrogh and Bryan Janiszewski – Cape Fear Community College Boat Building Program
Joshua Kofrogh and Bryan Janiszewski are both students of the Boat Building Program at Cape Fear Community College. This team should do well in the competition, since the head of the Boat Building Program is Mark Bayne, a seasoned veteran of this event and a Master Boat Builder!


Kenna Stone and Tom Russell, Windsor, NY and Sea Level, NC
Kenna, a former student of Bobby Staab at Croatan High School in North Carolina, cut her boat building teeth by competing for two years against other students in the Beaufort competition. Then she moved to New York with her family, where being close to Kingston, NY, she asked Tom Russell to team up with her for the Kingston competition.  Following Kingston, she and Tom competed in the Belfast, ME contest. 

Tom started competing in 2008 in the first Beaufort Challenge at the insistance of his friend, John Coffman. After competing for several years, including once at Georgetown (using only hand tools!), John Coffman suggested getting the local Boy Scouts involved. Tom has been working with Boy and Girl Scouts, as well as other youth groups, ever since. 


James Beaver and Paxton Pierce, Paden City, WV
James and Paxton, seniors at Paden City HS, have absolutely no wood working or boatbuilding experience, BUT they have participated in the Sunday Cardboard Challenge the last two years and want to try out the BIG LEAGUE!


Skip White and Jackson Mayer (age 7), Windsor, NY and Sea Level, NC
Past Wooden Boat Challenge champion/World Record holder Skip White is a retired carpenter who specialized in remodeling and homebuilding. He won the Challenge in 2010 with partner Dave Lowe, the year a new, more challenging boat design – the Carolina Bateau- was introduced to the competition. They finished in first place with a building time of 3:16:14, establishing a World Record time to beat for that boat design.

Skip will be building with his grandson, Jackson Mayer, a first grader at Mt Pleasant Academy with an acute interest in woodworking, fishing, and anything mechanical.


Chris Blundy and Mark Hladek, Charleston, SC and Mt. Pleasant, SC
Chris Blundy:  No random project will go unattempted.
Mark Hladek: Where are we and how did I get here?